WHAT THE BJP PROMISED
* Employment to 25 lakh youths
* 24x7 power supply
* Water supply in every household
* 100 percent irrigation coverage in agricultural fields
* 100 percent foreigner-free NRC
* No oral interviews for 3rd and 4th category jobs
* Fencing the Indo-Bangla border
* Clearing Xatras and forest lands of encroachment
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 19: A focused BJP, in alliance with a resurgent AGP and a confident BPF, today handed the Congress its biggest defeat since the historic 1985 assembly elections, sweeping the length and breadth of the State with a rousing mandate, while leaving several Congress stalwarts and all but three ministers of the Tarun Gogoi cabinet biting the dust.
Leveraging on its base built painstakingly before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and the civic elections last year, the BJP rode on the anti-incumbency wave after 15 years of Tarun Gogoi government in the State, stitching together a coalition of regiol and tribal forces and treading diligently on a well-chalked out plan promising to usher in the much yearned for “change”.
The BJP wrested 60 seats, while partners AGP and BPF bagged 14 and 12 seats respectively, to yield an aggregate of 86 seats for the alliance in the 126-member assembly. Back in 1991, the BJP had opened its account in the State with ten seats, a tally it repeated in 2006. However, it could mage five seats in the 2011 elections. However, the rainbow coalition it cobbled together this time paid handsome dividends for the saffron party.
The Congress had to remain content with 26 seats, a huge comedown from the 78 seats it had won in 2011. The Congress had forged a truck the UG Brahma’s UPP which, however, drew a blank in the four seats it was allotted.
The AIUDF tally slipped from 18 to 13, the biggest shocker being its chief Badruddin Ajmal’s defeat in South Salmara seat held by the party.
With this fiercely contested win, Sarbanda Sonowal, who won from Majuli constituency defeating Rajiv Lochan Pegu of the Congress by a margin of 18,923 votes, is set to head the first BJP government in the Northeast.
The saffron surge was overwhelming in Upper Assam, where Congress bigwigs like Paban Singh Ghatowar, Pradyut Bordoloi, Prithivi Majhi, Bismita Gogoi and Sarat Barkataky were routed. Only Prab Gogoi (Sivasagar) and Tarun Gogoi (Titabor) could retain their seats among the party stalwarts. Gogoi defeated BJP’s Kamakhya Prasad Tasa by a margin of 17,495 votes
Elsewhere, only three Congress ministers won – Rakibul Hussain (Samaguri), Ajanta Neog (Golaghat) and zrul Islam (Lahorighat).
Both the Congress and the AIUDF were worsted in their stronghold Barak Valley with the BJP wresting 8 of the 15 seats in a region it had none.
AIUDF president Badruddin Ajmal, who had predicted he would be ‘kingmaker’ in the next government, too was dumped in South Salmara, losing to Wazed Ali Choudhury of the Congress. Ajmal’s party failed to garner support even in minority-domited belts of Lower Assam and Barak Valley.
Congress veteran and master strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma’s entry into the BJP worked wonders for the saffron alliance, helping it to uproot the Congress from the State. Sarma, after 23 years in the Congress, left the party following a prolonged rift with Tarun Gagoi. His long experience and political grip helped the BJP defeat the Congress in many seats. Sarma retained his Jalukbari seat yet again with a huge margin of 85,935 votes.
The Congress defeat has put question marks against the leadership of APCC president Anjan Dutta, who could not even ensure his daughter’s win in Amguri, a seat he had once won.
There were 497 independent candidates in fray, but only one of them – Bhubon Pegu from Joi – could mage to win. He was supported by Ga Shakti, a Mising political party.
Prime Minister rendra Modi was elated with the BJP’s victory in Assam — the first State in the Northeast to go the saffron way.
After the victory, seen as a big morale booster for the BJP after its crushing defeats in Delhi and Bihar, Modi said, “Across India, people are placing their faith in (the) BJP and see it as the party that can usher in all-round and inclusive development.”
He said the BJP would do “everything possible to fulfill the dreams and aspirations of the people of Assam and take the state’s development journey to new heights”.
Modi congratulated BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbanda Sonowal for the party’s sterling electoral performance and its herculean efforts on the campaign trail.
BJP tiol president Amit Shah said, “The results are a stamp on two years of performance of the Modi government. Positive politics has won and people have rejected negative politics”.
“I see this victory as the new beginning of politics of performance,” Shah told a press conference here.
AGP leader and former MPs Birendra Prashad Baishya and Kumar Deepak Das said the win is a victory of the people. “It is a mandate against the corruption and misrule of the Congress and for ensuring the rights and future of the indigenous people,” they said in a statement.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said the party accepts the verdict of the people and it will introspect into the reasons behind its poor showing in the assembly polls.
“I thank all the voters who participated in strengthening our democratic process during these elections as also the Congress workers and leaders who worked hard during the campaign. We will introspect into the reasons for our loss and will rededicate ourselves to the service of the people with greater vigour,” she said.